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Bullying: Mean Girls

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Memorial Behavioral Health, Mental Health, Parents, Pediatrics, Physician Services | Posted on 23-03-2017

Female bullying is nothing new. Along with male bullying, it has become a national epidemic. Bullying can begin as early as when a child starts attending school. Statistics show male bullying is more prevalent, but female-to-female bullying is much more subtle.

Types of female bullying
Female-to-female bullying rarely becomes physical. It usually involves: Read the rest of this entry »

Is Your Child Scared of Santa? Four Tips to Help Calm Their Fears

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Parents, Pediatrics, Physician Services | Posted on 18-11-2016

santa-mom-and-childAll you want for Christmas is a picture-perfect photo of your child sitting on Santa’s lap to share with the world on social media, holiday cards and texts to grandparents.

Unfortunately, your child won’t set foot near the bearded bearer of gifts.

Jennifer Snyder, MD, a pediatrician with Memorial Physician Services, is a mom of a 3-year-old and a 16-month-old. She understands parents’ enthusiasm for holiday pictures, but as a physician, she also recognizes how some children experience anxiety over the much heralded meeting. Read the rest of this entry »

4 Ways to Raise Healthy Children

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Memorial Center for Healthy Families, Memorial Medical Center, Parents, Pediatrics, Physician Services | Posted on 01-11-2016

woman-reading-to-childWe all want our kids to grow into healthy adults. Virginia Dolan, MD, a pediatrician with Memorial Physician Services-Koke Mill and Memorial Center for Healthy Families, spoke recently on radio station WTAX about four areas to target for optimal health for your kids.

Sleep: Most young people need nine to 11 hours of sleep by the time they’re in kindergarten, but it’s also important to ensure that your children get restful sleep. Sleep has a significant effect on health. Children who lack sleep are sick more often, their school grades are often affected, and they’re more likely to be impulsive. Establish a five- to 10-minute bedtime routine for your kids that helps them be calm and ready for sleep. And avoid screen time—TV, iPads and so on—for about 90 minutes prior to bedtime. Read the rest of this entry »

Early Puberty and Depression: Tips for Guiding Younger Girls Through Body Changes

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Memorial Behavioral Health, Mental Health, Parents, Pediatrics | Posted on 28-09-2016

Sad lonely girl sitting on stairsWhat used to be a rite of passage for girls entering their teenage years is now occurring more frequently at younger ages, which can make it developmentally and emotionally challenging for many.

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, the average age of puberty in females now occurs around third and fourth grades, which is generally eight to nine years old. Twenty-five years ago, the average age was 12.

Amanda Armstrong, MA, LCPC, is a child out-patient therapist with Memorial Behavioral Health at the Springfield Children’s Center in Springfield, Illinois. She sees firsthand how early puberty can affect some girls and how communication is key in combatting depression. Read the rest of this entry »

Breastfeeding in Public: An Insider’s Look into the Controversy

Posted by | Posted in ALMH, Maternity, Memorial Medical Center, Parents, Passavant Area Hospital, Pediatrics, Women | Posted on 16-08-2016

Kara and Jason Kincaid, with 5-year-old Melanie, 3-year-old Will and infant daughter Mya.

Kara and Jason Kincaid, with 5-year-old Melanie, 3-year-old Will and infant daughter Mya.

If you spend time online, you’ve seen the stories. Moms asked to cover up or stop breastfeeding in public as to not offend people around them. While health experts and most of society agree “breast is best” when it comes to feeding your baby, how did where the baby eats become so controversial?

We talked to three current or former nursing moms to get their take on the issue. Read the rest of this entry »

MOSAIC Helps Teen Move Forward from Depression

Posted by | Posted in Memorial Behavioral Health, Mental Health, Pediatrics, Testimonial | Posted on 08-08-2016

Memorial Behavioral Health’s Children’s Mosaic Project is a collaboration of community resources that form a complete network of behavioral healthcare to youth in central Illinois. MOSAIC, or Meaningful Opportunities for Success and Achievement Through Service Integration for Children, brings together healthcare services, schools and neighborhood outreach programs to create an integrated mosaic of services.

Now a happy and healthy teenager, Trina* wanted to share her story to let others know they are not alone. Trina, a high school senior, took part in MOSAIC counseling services after she scored in the highly elevated range on a social-emotional screen. Although she had never had any counseling services before, she said she often felt depressed. Read the rest of this entry »

Family Summer Safety: Four Lesser-Known Dangers to Avoid

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Pediatrics, Physician Services, Safety, Summer | Posted on 05-07-2016

Active family going on a bikeride.

Many families have been schooled on the “big” summer safety issues that threaten the well-being of children including water safety around the pool, fireworks precautions and the importance of using sunscreen and sunglasses on your little ones.

But what about the lesser-known dangers that range from annoying to downright dangerous, not just for children but for all of us? Nicole Florence, MD, an internal medicine physician and pediatrician with Memorial Physician Services—Koke Mill, part of Memorial Health System, during a recent interview on WTAX’s Ask the Expert program on the Ray Lytle Show, shares her expertise. Read the rest of this entry »

Kid-Friendly Recipes for Fourth of July Traveling

Posted by | Posted in Memorial Medical Center, Nutrition, Parents, Pediatrics, Summer, Videos | Posted on 28-06-2016

Kid-Friendly SnacksMost of us have been there. You have hours ahead of you on the road and from the backseat all you can hear is, “Are we there yet?” This year, instead of loading the kids up on packaged snacks with enough sugar to keep them bouncing out of their seats, try these wholesome, homemade and cost-friendly snacks presented by Memorial Food and Nutrition. While we can’t promise a peaceful car ride, we can guarantee happy stomachs. As many of us know, that’s half the battle! See what our own taste-testers had to say, too. Read the rest of this entry »

4 Bad Kid Habits and What You Can Do

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Memorial Center for Healthy Families, Parents, Pediatrics, Physician Services | Posted on 23-06-2016

Angry-BoyEven the best behaved kids have bad habits.

“There’s no such thing as a bad kid,” says Nicole Florence, MD, an internal medicine physician and pediatrician with Memorial Physician Services-Koke Mill, part of Memorial Health System. “There might be bad choices, but every kid is a good kid.”

Dr. Florence spoke to Ray Lytle recently on radio station WTAX’s Ask The Expert program about some of the bad habits that even your little angel can get into–and how parents should handle them. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Recognize Childhood Depression

Posted by | Posted in Expert Tips, Mental Health, Pediatrics | Posted on 02-05-2016

mental-health-in-childrenEvery parent wants their child to be happy and healthy. They want them to play with friends and to be carefree. Unfortunately, not every child feels this way. Some children may struggle with mental health issues such as depression.

Thursday, May 5, is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day and is a perfect opportunity for parents to speak to their children about the importance of emotional and behavioral health.

“Noticing the signs of depression in children can be viewed in two ways,” said Amanda Chahalis, MSW, on-site school clinician with the Children’s MOSAIC Project, a program of Memorial Behavioral Health—Springfield Children’s Center. “The first, the one we typically think of, is feeling sadness more often than not and having a loss of interest or pleasure in everyday things. The second is becoming easily irritated and having difficulty controlling anger.”

Here are a few warning signs that a child may be experiencing depression:

  • Showing irritability or anger
  • Feeling down or having a lack of interest in things
  • Isolating oneself from peers and family
  • Sleeping too much or not enough
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Yelling or crying without reason

Many parents will say their child, especially teens, demonstrate these symptoms of depression on a regular basis. So what’s normal and when should a parent be concerned?

“Please keep in mind how long the symptoms have been going on, how often they are happening and if there is some other reason your child could be showing these behaviors, such as grieving the loss of a loved one or moving to a new school,” Chahalis said.

If your child is exhibiting symptoms of depression, seek professional help.  Schedule an appointment with a mental health professional for an assessment. If you believe your child is in crisis and in need of immediate assistance, call the CARES Line at 1-800-345-VOICE (9049).

At Memorial Behavioral Health, we understand how emotional or mental health issues affect your life. Our caring team provides help, hope and the path to wellness–close to home in central Illinois.

Amanda Chahalis, MSW

Amanda Chahalis, MSW, is an on-site MOSAIC school clinician with the Children’s MOSAIC Project, a program of Memorial Behavioral Health – Springfield Children’s Center. Amanda is trained in school social work and trauma-based behavioral health interventions. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from University of Louisville and her Master of Social Work from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.